Chalk this up as another example of the Liberal government's questionable regard for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
CBC News has reported that a Toronto business lawyer's phone and laptop were seized by Canada Border Services Agency officers after he refused to tell them passwords.
The lawyer, former Green party candidate Nick Wright, told CBC that he feels that searching phones without a warrant a "a breach of our constitutional rights".
Section 8 of the charter states that everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.
Wright is an elected bencher with the Ontario Law Society. He has maintained that his electronic devices contain information that's protected under solicitor-client privilege, but the CBSA still intends to crack the password to conduct searches.
In June 2015, the CBSA issued an operational bulletin defining digital devices as "goods"—and maintains that officers are permitted to examine goods under the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The bulletin was issued when the Conservatives were in power, but the current Liberal minister, Bill Blair, hasn't amended it to offer any protections for lawyers who might have information about their clients on their devices.
According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, charter rights at border points "continue to apply but are limited by state imperatives of national sovereignty, immigration control, taxation and public safety and security".
"The Canadian courts have not yet ruled on whether a border officer can compel a person to turn over their password and on what grounds, so that their electronic device may be searched at a border crossing," the office states on its website. "While the law is unsettled, CBSA policy states that examinations of personal devices should not be conducted as a matter of routine; such searches may be conducted only if there are grounds or indications that 'evidence of contraventions may be found on the digital device or media'."
The Liberal government has come under fire from various groups for a range of actions that they believe are not in accordance with various sections of the charter.
This has included everything from physician-assisted dying legislation to retaining the former Harper government's mandatory minimum sentences and its legislation making the sale of sex illegal in Canada.
In addition, many critics feel that the Liberal government's Cannabis Act, of which Blair was deeply involved in, violates the charter's guarantee of freedom of expression.